summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Thursday, July 28, 2011

thrifty shoppers...

The Rescue Mission store is fun. I bought an old fashioned thermos for three bucks, to use to keep that coffee hot while camping. I bought two really pretty bowls for a buck a piece, and baskets for our church conference Medieval Day.

Suzanne, Sonja K., and Jonathan ended up coming shopping with me. We met Kim at Wegmans, and went to lunch together at McDonalds. We sipped our coffee while the kids hung around listening to us talk...I did sent them to play on the McPlayArea, even though they didn't have socks, but the PlayLady noticed and told them nicely they had to have socks. Oh well. They seemed okay with it, so I didn't go buy them some for .99cents a pair.

I am mostly done with the grill shopping. I am mostly done with my conference/camping shopping. But I am not sure, because I am so discombobulated right now, I don't know what I have and what I don't. "Discombobulated" is a little tribute to my mother, who used that word all the time. Today is the anniversary of her death, it has been five years today. Ouch, I miss her more today than ever. She had a good passing, although I am no authority on passings. She was awake and alert until the end, which was not what we were told to expect. A few hours before she finally closed her eyes and slept her final sleep, she told us that Jesus was there for her, and she tried to get out of bed to go with Him. We told her she didn't even have to move, He would come to her. She didn't seem scared at all, she said she was ready. I believe it. I think of her every day. She would have loved that I am finally losing weight, it must've broken her heart to see me so out of shape for those years. She would love Camille, whom she never met. Charlotte Claire was just a newborn when she died. She would have loved the little guy Jon has grown into. I would have called her yesterday and told her that he said, "I don't get it, Rosie is an Old English Sheepdog, but she doesn't understand a word of English!" She would be so proud to have three grandchildren in nursing school. She would have been preparing her speech for next week's town board meeting. She would be enjoying our pool with us. She used to like to spend the night here, giving one of the kids five or ten bucks to go make up her bed for her. She would have loved Rosie, but she would NOT have tolerated any disobedience from her. She would have loved seeing Sonja's red hair, and Evelyn's strawberry blondeness. She would be so proud of Margaret, how she works out, and how she keeps those long curls so nicely. How she does so well in school. She would be thrilled that two of my brothers are also going camping when our family is going. Blah, she is missing so much, I ache to share things with her. She cared about the details, nothing was too small to share with her.

Well, princesses in high heels need bedtime stories.

I stayed home all day yesterday!

But today shall be a different story. I was planning to finish up the grill shopping tomorrow, but then I realized that we have to leave tomorrow for the conference, so I cannot shop and pack and load up and go.

Today's shopping trip should be fun, I am going with my sis-in-law Kim, who has 12 kids, ten still at home. We both say, "I only need a few things, not big shopping", and end up with a few cartfuls. The van will be quite packed full, but we have never left groceries behind!

The girls are both better, bouncing off the walls again, hopefully they are the last of the sickies.

My head is spinning with details. I had the kids each pack a backpack for camping, then a separate pile of stuff for the church summer conference. I have been adding little extras they might not think of, like underwear. But honestly, it is hard to find 18 pair of clean undies for the two little girls...I had a hard time finding enough for myself, because surprise of all surprises, some of mine are too baggy now. As if granny panties aren't bad enough, to have them falling down, FUN times. I know, I should just go buy some new ones.

So I am packing for two different things, first the conference, we will stay in the camper, then camping, we will Tent. (ha, that will be interesting). I have been brainstorming and putting more things on that kitchen table, like the matches and spatulas, and a frying pan...the big bag of pretzel M&M's has been sitting there for a week, the kids ask at least once a day if we can open them and just have "a few". ha. I am not that stupid.

So, details. Toothbrushes. Jackets, pillows, medicine-just-in-case, band-aids, a hairbrush. Then to top it all off, we are supposed to dress up for Children's Day at the conference, in a Medieval theme. Let's just say...if that happens, it hasn't happened yet, but it could happen.

One of the best parts of my day is my morning walk. It has gone from the dreaded, panting and huffing and struggling ordeal to the relaxing and refreshing time to think. This morning I counted seven different kinds of wildflowers on the side of the road. There was one kind I have never ever noticed before. I am sure it didn't just come into existence this morning, I just never saw it before. The corn is over my head, and the first cuttings of hay have been done, so some of the fields are shorn like Jon's new haircut, which saddens me. The haircut, not the fields.

Well, as usual, I have sat here too long, now I have to hurry to catch up to get out the door to pick up Kim. Oh, and if anyone wants to watch our horrible, nippy, spoiled, high-strung sheepdog while we camp, let me know. If we bring her, two of the girls said they aren't going, and we think she will just be so out of her element and hyper. (she gets worried when we walk farther than usual, or in the other direction down the road. She will turn to me and nudge me and whine...)(so I do not know what to do with her. I don't even think she would do well at a kennel, we used to take Champ there when we camped.) I wish we could just put her to sleep for the week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Suzanne made her Build-A-Bear bear a "button" shirt. By hand, obviously. I thought it was pretty cute.
Sam was laughing his head off about something
Mr. Summertime needs a haircut. And I love the shirt he has on, it fit him like two years ago.
Kathryn and Suzanne
Evelyn and Camille - Kathryn and Evelyn and Suze made eggs and toast and sausage for the littler ones while I was gone the other day. Mirielle said she was going to make them lunch, but Kap and Ev and Suze really wanted to. How nice!

Chocolate ice cream!
Every once and a while, the girls decide to play Store. This time, they made nice little houses for their dollhouse dolls.
cuddling with Emily Anne
Sonja and Mirielle with me...Mirielle realized we all were wearing the same color as we were leaving for our shopping trip trip, so Jon took a picture. I spilled coffee on this favorite t-shirt of mine, so I had to go in Target and walk hunched over the cart, and pick out a new shirt to change into in the van. I found one for $3.74.
Charlotte Claire with some sparkling new flip-flops, and Marg making her a nice comfy nest on the couch
Margaret with Charlotte Claire. Marg has been so good to Char while she has this fever.

summer days

Since I have been shopping for the grill so much lately, I have missed out on some summer days. While the shopping is rather fun, and I have enjoyed the outings with different kids of mine, having special times with them, I have missed the doing-nothing days that just flitter by. I have had to remind myself of my favorite saying, "It isn't doing what you like, it is liking what you are doing that makes you happy." So I try not to get frustrated, and just go with it.

On our morning walk, Rosie and I saw our neighbors, Suzie and her master Betsy. Rosie likes Suzie. She wasn't really trying to pull my arm off, she just got so excited. And Suzie almost pulled Betsy down their driveway. Betsy and I talked about the proposed racetrack, she has lived on this road since before it was paved, when our yard was still a cornfield. The thing is, progress can't be stopped. Things must be built. Cities expand into suburbs, suburbs sprawl...but this is a very invasive venture to be allowed to be built right next to and behind a house, right across from a few of the neighbors, right on our nice country road. It would be different if he had a hundred acres out in the middle of nowhere, with only woods and fields around.

Although this is something I totally and completely oppose, I shall not get too worked up about it. God already knows the beginning and the end of all things.

But I am tempted, oh yes, I am tempted to get pretty upset.

Because more things come into my how Jonathan is scared of loud noises, motorcycles and loud engines.

And several here have bad allergies, including Paul, so the dust from a dirt track would be horrible. Not to mention we would be all breathing it, and then there is the dirty part of it, the grit and grime that would coat everything.

Then there is the lighting and the traffic.

Then there is the property value, which would certainly go down. See, Paul is in excellent health, he works out consistently and eats good food, but - he has advanced arthritis in his knees, and some other knee problems, so we have it on our radar to move into a more accessable house when we get older. If we couldn't sell this, we would be stuck going up and down the dreaded deck steps right into our seventies and eighties. Doom and Gloom, I tell you.

Oh well. Now I shall get out of this comfy chair and get busy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

what would you do?

what would you do if your tranquil yard was being infringed on? Possibly ruined forever? We found out the property adjacent to ours is being purchased by a car collision center up on the main road...and will probably be zoned commercial. We went to the town planning meeting because we found out this property is being possibly developed into: a race track! Mud and dirt racing! Right next door...noise, dirt, dust, people, blah!!!

Now, this is just in the planning stage, but this property owner/planner isn't waiting for permission. He is starting to dig and move dirt. I guess there is no law here against moving dirt around on one's own property.

I am pretty rattled by all this. We have been so spoiled. We bought this property out in the country because we like raising the kids out in the country. Not next to a parking lot used for dirt track racers.

So, we shall go to the board meeting next week. We shall raise our opposition, and see what happens. I wish I wish I wish we had bought the property next door. I wish we had. But we didn't. blah.

I have to remember that this is just another monkey wrench in the monkey wrench pile, and that our home is not on this earth. There is a reason for everything, and honestly, it was good to meet our neighbors tonight. There is some strange satisfaction in being united with them against this project.

I mean, I am all for capitalistic ventures, but...not THIS, not HERE.


We shopped today again. One hundred pizza doughs, 10 twelve packs of soda for the grill. Some stuff for us.

We have two sick little girls. Camille and Charlotte Claire. Char's temperature was 103.6. Camille woke me in the night last night because she was feverish and had a headache. "I want you, Mama, I want you." Now, I don't hear this as much as I used to, so I was okay with missing a little bit of sleep to comfort "my baby".

Jonathan was already sick, so we kind of know what to expect. Nothing too bad, just a few days of fever and headache and camping out on the couch.

Tomorrow I plan to stay home with my sick little girls and let Joe or Aaron or Mirielle take the other kids over to church to make signs and posters for the Children's Day parade next week at our summer conference.

I am rather happy about one thing: I came home from all my shopping, with not much time to get ready for the town meeting, yet I went on the treadmill, then took a quick swim. Mirielle made me a really good salad, which I had when I got home with some chicken on top.

Well, the older kids are watching a movie, and I am distracted. Oh, I forgot, I bought a sports bra today, my first one ever! It was really cheap, I thought it would be a good incentive, but it fits!

Monday, July 25, 2011

monday thoughts

Here are some random thoughts on this fine Monday morning...

1. Fireflies only live a few weeks after they emerge from the ground. So if the kids catch them and put them in a jar with no holes in the top, oops, but...

2. Summer needs to slow down!

3. I think I might need to call dr. for Mali. I do not want to go to the small city again. My life seems to consist of me doing things I don't really want to do, year after year. Yet, I love my life.

4. When one of the kids says, "I don't WANT to though!", about something, I say, "What does that have to do with anything?"

5. A few of my daughters have discovered the fun in going to the Thrifty Shopper. I now have a Thrifty Shopper discount card. The only problem is they like to hold things up and laugh their heads off.

6. I didn't make a fresh pot of coffee this morning because Paul had just left for work, and left some in the pot. Not a whole cup, but I lazed out. Blah, it is sad when the cup is empty.

7. I tried to break myself out of my Oatmeal-With-Crunchy-Peanut-Butter rut this morning, but just couldn't.

8. I NEED to go on that treadmill today!

9. Mirielle got me a book from the library the other day, and I have already read it. But, I am reading it again.

10. My "little" brother is bringing his two kids over for the day on Thursday. They were here for our party last month, and had a good time with our kids. I am rather excited to get to know them a bit more.

11. I had a dream last night that I was pregnant, and was showing the kids a chart of the baby's development. wah.

12. Everybody knows Somebody who had a baby when they were 46 or older. So it COULD happen.

13. Charlotte Claire likes to brush her Barbie's hair until it is smooth smooth smooth.

14. The wind is coming up and we have clothes drying on the deck, so goodbye.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

shopping and shopping and shopping

A nice picture on my phone of when Suze ran into the spray butter display, clunking and clattering the plastic containers all over the floor, the girls collapsing with laughter, Suze wearing the new-to-her high heels her Nice Mom bought a few minutes before in the Thrifty Shopper next store, in which Kathryn bought some shorts to change into since she spilled so much iced tea from McDonalds on the ones she had on that it looked like she wet her pants...(but I couldn't get the pic on here, complications)

No, never a dull moment. Suze wore those ridiculous heels all through the store.

We filled FIVE carts with supplies for the grill.

We then went to Target really quickly to return a battery powered pump for air mattresses, because we found the one we already had. We picked up some bras for the girls while we were in there, for 75% off. And a pair of 75% off sandals for Kathryn. Price Chopper: more stuff for the grill (Kim, the tortilla chips are only two cents a bag more than Walmart). I had to get twenty bags, to that IS forty cents.

We were getting tired. Very tired. We had spent hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars on grill stuff. We had packed it into the minivan. We were tired. We had gone to Sears because I had a five dollar off coupon, off any purchase...well, surprise, all the clearance stuff was an additional 40% off. I got some sports bras for some girls, some bathing suits, a few shirts for Jon for school, and a present for my sister for her birthday. I also bought Charlotte Claire a sweet little outfit for kindergarten for only $4.19, regularly $28. And a little dress for $4.19. Undies for Jon, some socks, all cheap. Then: at the register the Nice Cashier scanned a coupon for 15% off our total! Yes, it was fun.

The girls had one thought today, to go to Subway. I finally relented because I was getting so hungry. I had a half of Buffalo chicken sub with no dressing, with tomatoes and lettuce and green peppers and olives. No cheese. Almost 400 calories still, ouchie, but oh it was yum. On a toasted bun. We parked by the river to eat, and watched a New Mom pick her newborn up without supporting his head at all. It's funny, I didn't even say anything, but the girls saw and were upset about it. They also saw a lady in the grocery store pulling a very small toddler by his arm (nursemaid's elbow anyone? or perhaps a dislocated shoulder? duh!!) I guess they have learned a thing or two growing up here. Little ones are precious, and should be handled carefully.

There is still more to get for the grill, the 100 frozen pizza doughs have been ordered and need picking up. (80 for pizza, 20 for fried dough, oh my shall I survive this church conference?)

Mali is not feeling well, sore throat and headache...I shall call doc for her tomorrow. Jon is not feeling too great either. I think he picked up something at the birthday party he attended the other day. This is NOT all because the nurse at the dr. office mentioned the other day how we really didn't come in too often for there being SO MANY of us. It just seems like it. It just seems like that is why it is happening, not that there are so many of us.

I am tired, too tired to type anything that makes sense. Goodnight.

cooling off

Here in central New York state, the weather is such a topic. We don't get the extreme heat or cold that some parts of the country get, but we do get a huge variety. I mean, we are like the Snow Capital of the country, getting all the Lake Effect snow from Ontario. Yet we still have such hot and humid summers.

The air conditioners are off, it is only 73 degrees. After 101 the other day, it is wonderful.

Kathryn has had swimmer's ear. I took her to doc, she started using antibiotic ear drops. She got worse and worse, and by Friday she had a fever and aches and her ear and jaw and head just ached and hurt and she was in agony. I took her back to the doc, she was put on an oral antibiotic, and is starting to feel better now. I am super thankful we have had these window a.c units cooling the living room and kitchen, or poor Kathryn.

Camille had a restless night, she kept whining and waking. I am not used to getting up during the night anymore. I got up like five times and told her it was okay, just go back to sleep. Blah.

Well...this morning is Sunday morning, so we are getting ready to go to church. If you ever want to have some fun, try getting like 14 or 15 people out the door by 10:30. I don't have a nursing baby anymore, so it is much easier. But those teenagers!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

sadness in Norway

Aaron came home right before the terrible attacks. I read the authorities closed the borders after it all happened. A peaceful country with five million people, and these horrible things happening to innocent people.

How can such evil exist?

Then there are the good people. There was a crash on the Thruway near here the other night, right after I picked Aaron up at the airport. A tour bus and a tractor trailer collided. An Army soldier from Fort Drum was right behind the accident, so he, along with other citizens, pulled every single person off the bus right before it went up in flames. He was enroute to his home in Oklahoma, which I personally know is a long long trip, yet he took the time to bring some family members of an injured man who was helicoptered to the hospital. After arriving at the hospital, they realized the man had been taken to a different city, over an hour in the other direction. The Sargeant took the people there, and waited with them until they were okay, and re-united with the injured man. Now there is a hero! Above and beyond the call of duty.

I have now lost 34 pounds! It seems that I could lose more quicker if I cut out the chocolate, but is life worth living without chocolate? Paul brought home some treats from a guy at work, including organic fair trade dark chocolate, oh so good. And, some white chocolate with sea salted cashews and ginger. Thankfully it was a small bar, because I was the only one who delighted in it. No "wait and they will eat it all" with this chocolate. It is now gone, phew. Yum. But, the bar of Norwegian chocolate from Aaron is in the 'fridge, and if anyone so much as touches it...rrr. When I am good and ready, I shall take it out and share it. Or, perhaps when I am here all alone..ha.

The little princesses are happy. I bought them a set of princess paper dolls yesterday. It is so very hot outside, unless one is swimming, and there are horseflys out, that seem to be worse when it is so hot out. So, here in our air conditioned living room, they are playing paperdolls. They played for hours yesterday. They are playing again now.

Kids are eating popsicles. There are dolls in strollers out. Mirielle says one baby is so cute she wishes it were real. Me too, Mirielle, me too. Jonathan has a headache and is resting on his blankets on the floor in the cool. I think I am going to have to go do some shopping for the grill, I have lots more to get.

Suze is walking around in her bathing suit, asking to go in the pool. I guess I am going swimming. Poor me, eh?

Friday, July 22, 2011


Yeah, I picked Mr. Norwegian Chocolate up at the airport last night, or rather this morning. He was too tired to talk much, so I filled him in on all the exciting things that have been happening here. Like Not Much.

I woke bright and early this morning, but couldn't start my day because I was a Nice Mom and let all the young children camp out in the living room last night. It was too hot in their rooms. I didn't want to wake them all up, so I tossed and turned, and fell back to sleep. I knew Paul's mom was going to come over, but he said she would call first. Well....she didn't.

I WAS going to get up and clean the house quick. I really was. But she came too early. The lazy part of me is a tiny bit glad. But the PRIDE part of me is very injured. Not just the big pile of camping supplies on the kitchen table, or the hundreds of pairs of shoes scattered in the doorway. Or the fact that the kids were all still lounging around in their makeshift beds in the living room. Or the coloring projects all over the kitchen table. Blah, ten or fifteen minutes of Panic Cleaning would have made all the difference. Oh well. Ouch. She DID tell me I look good, which was nice. I am not seeing it, I am just seeing that the scale is levelling off and blah, I want it to go down! Anyway, off on a tangent, it was nice to visit with her. We sat and talked while I pretended I wasn't mortally embarrassed about the house. She is a lovely woman. Grampa isn't doing too well these days, his short-term memory is going, and it is very stressful for her sometimes. She said, "I have no patience, and I know I have to change." That just made my heart rejoice because God gives grace to the humble. I am praying for her, that God will bless her and give her the patience she needs. I have to go get some drinks for the youth gathering tonight at my niece's house. No, I am not invited. It's a pity, all of my friends will be there.

It reached 101 yesterday. It is extremely hot again today. Our little window air conditioners are keeping us just cool enough.

Well, the day is going on, and here I sit. Places to go and things to do. Although I wonder why I should possibly clean the house now...

Thursday, July 21, 2011


It hasn't hit one hundred yet...


Camille Anaya
Charlotte Claire
a towel and some flowers: a nice place for breakfast
Suzanne went to Build-A-Bear with her cousin Grace


Camille Anaya

Since it is now 98 degrees, and I am waterlogged from being in the pool all day (which I really really am thankful for), the kids needed a break from chlorine and sunshine they are watching, "Aladdin", and I am sitting here posting pictures.

We have had our pool since the summer I was expecting Samuel, who will be 16 soon. He was our eighth child, and I was thirty years old. After he was born, August 2nd, came the tricky part: how to watch seven kids ages ten and under in the pool while taking care of a newborn. Through the years all different yet similar scenarios played out...toddlers, newborns, two year olds who needed seems there were times when five of them needed floaties. Now, just two do. And no more naptimes, except for when they conk out on the couch, like they almost are right now. I so appreciate my time in the pool, as for years and years it was part and parcelled. Cut short and sometimes days went by and I wasn't able to get in at all...

Well, it is the Dreaded Dinner Time. And, as usual, I have no idea....

hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk

Rosie and I took our walk this morning, and it was HOT!!! There is a slight breeze, and the part where the road winds through the woods was lovely, but the sunny part - ouch.

It is already 87 degrees out.

It might reach 100 today here, with high humidity.

We put our two window air conditioners in last night, and turned them on this morning. We hung the curtain across the hall, so now the kitchen and living room are cooling off.

We shall stay home today. Mostly. I still have to take that little trip to the post office. oops. I was leaving yesterday when Kathryn told me about her ear, so I delayed my departure to coincide with her appointment, and oops, the post office was closed for lunch hour. Yes, a small town. Then on the way home, oops, it was closed for the day. So...after all the nice things I did yesterday, the first thing Paul asked when he got home was if I went to the post office...nope.

I can't stop thinking about the old man in Walmart yesterday. He was waiting for his prescription, and was told it would be another five minutes. He was old and hunched over, and confused. He said he needed to sit down. His wife was already sitting on the bench some fifteen feet away. I can't even write this without crying, but he peed his pants. His jeans were soaked through, and it smelled bad. As he turned and looked at his wife, she scanned around to see if everyone saw, and I averted my eyes. She was all made up and so dignified, and he looked so helpless. It totally broke my heart. He hobbled over to the bench with his cane and sat with her, and I stood there with my eyes brimming, wondering what I could do for them. I decided that pretending I hadn't noticed was good. But last night I tossed and turned for hours, and concluded that I should have gone and gotten him one of the store wheelchairs, so he could leave in dignity. I prayed that God would help me to think more clearly next time...

God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So getting old is a nice last chance to embrace humility, I think.

Kathryn is lying on the living room floor on a comforter, dozing. She was awake at 4:30 am when I thought I heard a noise. She was watching, "Good Morning America". Her ear hurt. I told her to take more ibuprofen, and she could keep watching it if she wanted. She is tired today, and so am I. Nothing like crying for an old man I don't even know to keep me awake all night.

I wouldn't be a good nurse. It would take too much for me to distance myself from the patients.

Benjamin is hearing conflicting reports about when they are going to Afghanistan. the U.S.Army seems really good at that. He is not in any hurry, and neither am I. Perhaps he will not have to go at all, that would be nice.

Tonight I have to go to the airport around midnight to pick up Mr. Aaron, World Traveler. It will be so nice to see my chocolate bar, I mean, my son.

Blah, I should not even eat one bite of chocolate, Norwegian or not. My weight is just staying staying staying the same again, and I need to step up the exercise and trim the tastes down. Exercise in this heat is not happening, besides in the pool, which may tone up, but does not lead to weight loss for me somehow. blah. I have to mind to do this things, but to have it really happen is sooo slow. I am done with being so heavy, finished! I wish I could fast-forward to being thin. But as with all things, it's the climb. No, that is a Miley Cyrus song. I hate the climb. I just want the results. Oh well, too bad for me, 'cause there is no way around it. I would rather lose weight than eat good food, now I need to persevere.

Well...I had better get to that post office.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

running here and there and everywhere

Oops, did I say I was staying home? Blah. Kathryn's ear hurt, drainage was green, off to the dr. Sam cam along to develop pictures from his trip to New York City. Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja came along just to be along. Perhaps because they knew how much fun it would be to laugh their heads off when the dr. came in, or when they raided the sticker basket.

They talked me into taking them to the Chinese buffet for lunch. I will never go there ever again. It was good, too good. I only had pepper chicken, SO good, with green peppers and onions, and hot peppers, and black pepper. It is my favorite. I had a tiny bit of General Tsaos, too, but no dessert, no rice or noodles. No fried donut. One french fry, and two orange slices. And like three fortune cookies. I felt awful. I felt like I had eaten way too much, because I am not used to it anymore.

We then went to the Thrifty Shopper. Why did I buy a gorgeous prom-type dress for Suzanne? Because it was half price. Why did I also buy one for Evelyn? Because she wanted it. They tried them on, and looked pretty spectacular. Older girls like to be princesses too. I found a pair of jean shorts for myself for a few bucks, and some Disney movies for a few bucks each. And a stack of plastic mugs for camping.

Of course I vowed to not eat anything else all day. ha. Walmart, where I picked up Kathryn's prescription and bought two watermelons, ice cream, ice, and popsicles. I had one of the popsicles on the way home. It was a lemon-lime slushy pop. When I ripped the bag open, I ripped the part where the calories are printed. oh well, I ate it and it was so refreshing in our boiling hot van. the pool. Grilled steak on the deck, cut up a watermelon, Paul made salad. Heated up some corn. Ate out on the deck...

Okay, I have already resisted ice cream this evening, now Mirielle is making her kettle corn. The smell is intoxicating. I think I am going to have to just go to bed, it smells so heavenly good. rrr.


Rosie and I sweltered through our morning walk. Over ninety today, perhaps 97 tomorrow. Staying home is a good idea, the big van is hot and terribly un-ventilated. But I have to take a quick trip to town to the post office. Seems that when Benjamin changed his address, he also changed OUR address, so he has been getting all of our mail. I tell you, the fun never ends.

I did take pictures yesterday at the fun and exciting new beach we went to. But...the camera battery had to be charged before we left. And NO ONE knew where the battery charger went. (I was slightly embarrassed when Evelyn found it on MY dresser. oops). So, we charged the battery, I told one child to please remember the battery before we leave. Well, neither of us remembered. So I took pictures with the other camera, and the cord needed to load the pics on to this computer is...well, we aren't sure. But I am not going to start asking until I check my dresser.

blah, all the little details that make up life.

Our beach trip: Mirielle, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille, my sister's daughter Becky, and her grand-daughter Grace. And me, the driver of the big crazy van. We didn't particularly care for the beach. The little kids loved it though. They didn't care about the mobs of people or that the water was stagnant and rather yucky. They didn't care that the sand seemed dirty, and it smelled gross when they dug. But we older ones were rather ready to leave in a hurry. We stayed a bit, until they had enough, and set out for the 40 mile trip home...Sonja ended up with toothpaste all over her as a result of a squabble with Suze, who was apparently armed with toothpaste. blah.

Home. I was a bad mommy. The kids were very hungry. We almost ordered pizza on the way home, but I had only take $20 with us, not enough. So...home. Instead of starting dinner right away, I put my sneakers on and went on the treadmill for 25 minutes. It was hot, all I could think of was getting in the pool afterward, which I did. Paul had started dinner by this time, yay. He put five pounds of Tyson already cooked Buffalo wings on the grill, made green beans, heated up leftover rice, and let the kids microwave some pizza rolls.

Today's agenda:

Post office.

Run in the store for a few bags of ice.


Keep cool.

Be patient with the kids. Hug them. Stay cool when teenagers make their disrespectful remarks. Get some cleaning done before it gets too terribly hot.

Chill. Relax. Take it easy. It is too hot out to do all the shopping I have to do, too early to start packing for the conference or camping. So we shall watch movies and read books and go in the pool and eat healthy snacks.

(being a stay-at-home mom is way way too much fun).

But each of these kids is different. They need to be respected and listened to, and appreciated. Even when things are low-key, they need this.

Well, I shall finish reading the morning paper, finish my coffee, get up and stretch, and resume my busy schedule....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


today we are going on and adventure. Mirielle and Margaret are supposed to plan the destination. I think they are choosing a state park we haven't been to. The kids are sleeping so late these days, I don't know when we will get out the ten o'clock, I was preparing my honey wheat English muffin with crunchy peanut butter, and cold sliced peach, and coffee with half and half, and I was the only one up except for Rosie, who was lying on the floor, exhausted from our walk.

Yesterday was an adventure, too. Mali needed some new running shoes. She found a pair for a reasonable price, then we scoured the clearance racks at Kohl's, but everything is so expensive, even when it is 70 or 80% off. I did get Charlotte Claire one pair of plaid capris and a cute little top. Not too cute, though, or she won't wear it. She wants to be Pretty, NOT Cute, she tells us.

Then to Target...again. I got another cooler for our camping trip, another air mattress, and a few Christmas presents.

Price-Chopper. Eggs and yogurt and peppers and paper plates for camping. Then BJ's for a big bag of Nestle chocolate chips, pretzel M&M's for camping, crackers, milk, chicken. And: almost a thousand dollars worth of stuff for the Grill at church summer conference. Three carts full. And I am not even a third of the way done. I think I got most of the expensive stuff though, the chicken breast and wings, and burgers, and hot dogs. Then, out to the conference center to put it all away.

Home, finally.

Today I really could stay home and do things around here, but it is supposed to be 89 degrees and sunny. Tomorrow is going to be 92, and Thursday 98. That is too hot to be taking kids around in the big van with no air conditioning. So today, our adventure.

I talked to Private First Class Benjamin Paul yesterday. Phew, I was getting a little worried about him, but he is fine. Homesick though. The movers have not moved their stuff yet, they are living with no furniture except for the Coleman inflatable queen sized bed I had gotten on clearance at Target, and insisted they take on the plane with them. I plan on adding some good stuff to their pile, some surprises. Hey, it will be sent for "free", compliments of the U.S. Government. Which gives some clue to why they moved there in June and won't get their stuff until August. (and people want Government run health care?? blah)

Well, seven of the kids are here in the living room now, all awake and chatty. I can no longer concentrate.

Monday, July 18, 2011

monday morning at home...

1. 6:30 is too early. It is NOT happening! No way. I sent their little rumps back to bed. I guess Camille can't sleep in the room with Charlotte Claire.

2. Is it wrong that I told Camille, who did NOT want to go back to bed at 6:30, that she could go bye-bye with Mommy later if she went to sleep like a good girl?

3. I have to take Camille some place today.

4. I was so fully awake from getting Camille tucked back in, I should have stayed up. But no, I settled back into my comfy bed on this cloudy rainy morning, and slept until after nine!

5. Rosie and I walked in the rain.

6. Olivia went home. She stayed over three nights. Char asked this morning why Olivia only gets to stay for such a little bit of time.

7. Kathryn made French Toast for breakfast. I cannot begin to say how much I appreciate this. The kids love it.

8. I had my usual: whole oats with a teaspoon of crunchy peanutbutter, and some brown sugar. And milk. And coffee with half and half.

9. There is a good spirit here in our home this morning. Can't explain it, but I think it is because the camping girls are back home, and they are glad to be home.

10. We are really and truly going Adirondack camping this year!!! In tents. Mirielle is in charge of planning meals. We are going to keep it simple, so if you see our kids there looking like bums, remember it isn't normal, and that it is KILLING me.

11. Bums or not, we shall have fun up there in the mountains. Emily and Abigail both have vacation time off, so we all will be there except for Benjamin. Oh, how I wish Benjamin would be there instead of off in the California desert getting acclimated to the Afghanistan weather..

12. Speaking of Benjamin, I miss him SO much.

13. I have this week and next week to buy drinks, candy, and food for the summer conference. A few thousand dollars worth of stuff. Plus I have to buy our home groceries, our conference food, and our camping food. Do I feel overwhelmed? Not yet.

14. Our kids are playing Wii this morning. Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

15. Jon says the next thing we need is a new controller. We are one short, according to Jon.

16. We always need something or other. Need. ha.

17. The half and half is almost gone, and we have nothing left for salads. So I am going to have to go shopping today. I think I shall look at my lists and get all organized and get going. blah. I just want to stay home and drink coffee and enjoy the kids.

18. Our van is a driving pig-pen again. We shall clean it out, and never eat in there again.

19. I got a hundred dollars for my birthday from Paul's mom. It is almost gone. Kids need money for camping trips and outings and blah, my birthday money is almost gone. I had big plans, too.

20. I hate that summer slips by so quickly. Summer is really my thing: unplanned, spontaneous, restful, low-key, exciting, and the kids are all here.

Camille finally woke up a few minutes ago. She wants to know where we are going today...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

ninety degrees

Summer is HERE. Hot and sunny and gorgeous. Rosie is so hot. She is quite well behaved in the heat, because it tires her out. Except for on our walks, this morning she was terrible! First we met Suzie, the well-behaved dog from down the road, walking nicely on her leash. Rosie danced and pranced and barked and pulled. I got her to sit, finally, but she kept yapping and trying to play with Suzie. On with our walk, then we see a neighbor pushing a baby in a stroller. ugh. Rosie got all excited again, pulling and dancing, then a car went by! Cars make Rosie think CHASE. HERD. I made her sit again, blah, but we barely managed to get by the baby without Rosie bolting over and jumping on her. All I could think of was that when Mali took her for a walk the other day, she pulled so hard when she saw Suzie, her collar snapped off. blah.

And now it is evening. It is 85 degrees in the living room at almost ten o'clock at night. It is still 83 outside.

Happy things:

1. Six daughters back from the Adirondacks happy and healthy. Well, a little sunburned. And a little upset that their sisters here had a sleepover in their room, used their nailpolish, and tried on their clothes.

2. Samuel is in New York City with his friend Chris, who is deaf and had to visit his dr. to have his cochlear implant adjusted. They took the train down with Chris's dad. They got there safe and sound.

3. It is summer. That alone is Happy.

Sad things:

1. The sound of the wind in the poplars reminds me of my mother so much I could cry. Today the kids were watching a movie after swimming for a while, so I sneaked away and treadmilled for 25 minutes, then jumped in the pool, then sat in the sun dozed. Listening to the wind in the poplars.

2. I thought while sitting there that my parents would be so proud of me for finally getting into shape.

3. Charlotte Claire is going to kindergarten this year. wah.

4. The weekend is while we go on enjoying our vacation, Paul has to go back to work.

Now I am distracted because there are eight of us here in the living room.....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

he better bring me chocolate!

Aaron is in Norway for a few weeks, and he better bring me home a chocolate bar! I am missing Mr. Aaron. How can I have so many kids and still miss the one who is gone? Emily took Margaret, Kathryn, and Evelyn camping in the Adirondacks on Thursday, Abigail and Mirielle joined them on Friday. So is it quiet here? ha. Joseph and Sam are still here, with their cousin Luke and friend Nate. Suzanne and Sonja have their cousin Olivia here, then Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille are here. Jon got a new Nerf gun yesterday, so the interest in running around and shooting each other has been revived. It is not a quiet game, especially because Rosie has to put her two cents in.

I bought donuts yesterday, buy six get six free ($4.29 a dozen). I let the girls pick them out. I think they are all gone, and I only had one little taste. Yay! Joe and Sam and their cousin and friend had one when they came in from this gym this morning, that helped.

For breakfast, I had a half of a whole grain English muffin with crunchy peanut butter, and a handful of cherries. And of course my coffee with half and half. I shall not resort to cutting out that half and half, it makes my life happy.

So, what's new and different? Mostly the same old same old, yet I am very happy. Sometimes I feel like I can almost see the brevity of life, and try desperately to slow time down, to grab hold of the little moments and enjoy them thoroughly. We know life has a beginning, and an end. But if we REALLY knew this, would we seriously get so worked up about so many stupid little details? Wouldn't we just love more and forgive more and think of others and bless and serve and store up those treasures in heaven? It's not as if we wouldn't get back a thousand-fold, when we give, we receive.

Yesterday when we were driving down the road, I told the girls in the van that I loved them, all of them, my niece Olivia, too. They seemed pretty happy to hear that, and all shouted how much they loved me too. Since I had just taken them to the movies and bought them popcorn, then to McDonalds, I WAS pretty lovable.

When two little girls are playing in the bathroom, their mom should stop typing and go check on them.

Friday, July 15, 2011

aah, friday night...

I did not find time to post this morning because I left here in a hurry. No emergency, just found out the movie that I promised to take the kids to was playing at noon. Noon. Almost thirty miles away. And since I slept in 'til after eight, took a shower, went on my walk, then finally sat down to check movie times in the morning paper at ten a.m., it was a hurry.

I reluctantly left Camille home with Mirielle, Joseph, Mali, and Samuel. She has been a bit challenging lately, and when she put up a fuss this morning about wanting to pour her own milk in her cereal (right!), I made up my mind to leave her here, ow. Of course I left her with the promise of a present.

We saw "Judy Moody", which wasn't excellent, but, wasn't too bad, either. At least there was no stupid romance story line, or horrible potty humor (as opposed to good potty humor, which is always appreciated).

My girls have only gone to the movies a few times, so it was very fun and exciting. I bought them the large popcorn and large soda because of the free refills. Keeping my hot little hand out of that popcorn bag was no fun. It kept creeping...blah. I really only had a small bit. Which is a good thing, because our next stop was the dreaded MCDONALDS. I split a Mcdouble with Charlotte Claire, and didn't eat the top bun, and had a small fruit and yogurt parfait. Yum, but sorry, their fries and hot fudge sundaes looked SO GOOD.

Next stop: Target. Quickly. There were so many sandals 75% off! I let the girls each pick a pair. I only had Suzanne, Sonja, Charlotte Claire, and their cousin Olivia.

Then the grocery store. Tomatoes and bread and hot dogs (yuck, but they were buy one get two free, and the kids love them roasted over the fire), milk and croutons and yogurt.

Next stop: A different grocery store just to run in and get some of the 99 cent a pound half chickens.


Groceries away, pool. The pool water is so nice and warm.

And now, after our dinner of salad with chicken and sandwiches for the kids and watermelon, the kids are watching a movie and Suze is getting out the ice cream for sundaes. Hmm, perhaps I shall have a scoop....would someone please invent the ice cream diet? I read about one study wherein the subjects ate tons of food one day, barely anything the next, then lots again....for several weeks, and lost weight. Fooled the old metabolism. Sounds too good to be true. I also read a story of a lady who ate anything she pleased every Sunday, then only 1200 calories a day the rest of the week. She said it probably took her all the longer to lose weight because she did that, but it totally helped her cope. hmm.

Is it too personal to mention that I love Fridays because Paul and I always watch movies together and have a "date"? Pretty cool to still have that spark.

Our weekend forecast is amazing once again. Sunny skies, temperatures in the high eighties. The garden is growing so nicely, Jonathan gets all excited about pulling the radishes and seeing those tomatoes and peppers magically appear. I think we will be inundated with yellow squash soon.

I think I better supervise the ice cream serving...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

calling the cops and cookies...

These are a creation of Evelyn and Mirielle. Enjoy, they say. blah. I groaned when they started talking about making cookies. They told me that just because YOU are on a diet, doesn't mean THEY have to suffer. I really do know that. Did they not have sour cream and onion chips with their dinner? Did I not buy those chips? Mirielle and Margaret made the dinner last night. They browned up a pound of bacon, chopped it up, chopped up sweet fresh onions, mixed it all in with burger and made patties, grilled them on The New Grill. Joseph made the salad. (I was busy talking with my older brother Bob, who came to visit me for a bit)

Anyway, the cookies look and smell very appealing, but I am learning again that I don't need a taste of everything. Only when I really really want it. The scale went down a tiny little bit again, and it motivates me to resist temptation.

So we had to call the cops yesterday evening. I insisted we clean up the house before calling. The first thing to go was the phrase Emily had written with the 'fridge magnets, "So many cops, only one donut". Seriously though, nothing gets the house clean fast like the thought of police coming. The kids pitched in and we swept and cleaned and straightened....

Anyway, we had to call the cops yesterday evening. One of my older kids was harassed while going for a run, some creeper drove by nine times and made some obscene gestures. We decided to let the troopers know about it. They now have a description of the creep and the vehicle now. Hopefully the guy is wanted for something else and get pulled over and arrested. And dies a slow and painful death in jail. Partly kidding. But - I shall admit, the Mama Bear that is awakened in me when something threatens one of these guys, RRR. I also hate hate hate that the tranquility and peacefulness of walking and running our nice country back roads has been darkened. I still went on my morning walk, with my phone in my pocket.

But Jonathan, in all his seven year-old wisdom, reminded me that God watches over us.

Camille's doctor visit was non-eventful, just how we like 'em. I did tell the dr. how sorry I was to hear of his dad's passing. And that Camille said, "He can live with us now that he doesn't have a daddy." He did chuckle about that, and he told me a bit about his dad and how thankful he was that the grandchildren had a chance to be with him at the end. I clearly remember when my parents died how much I wanted to talk about it, about them.

So the visit went well, except for when the Nice Nurse came in to give Camille a booster shot, and Charlotte Claire said, "The nurse who gave me my shots was WAY prettier!"

A stop at the grocery store with Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille - I had promised they could pick out a piece of candy in the bulk section, ahh, headache! Camille picked out the cutest gummy flowers, they picked wax bottles, and candy necklaces. I picked out some cherries for myself to have on the way home. A dozen cherries and a few almonds, perfect.

I bought the kids a couple of puzzles at the dollar store yesterday. I would rather see them doing things like that then tv, movies, video games.

The girls didn't leave yesterday for camping, they are going today. Adirondack mountains, lucky ducks.

But we shall have fun here too. I have promised to take Sonja and Jonathan to the movies one of these days. We will include Suzanne, too, since all the older girls are leaving.

It is nice and sunny out there again, this has been a gorgeous summer here. We are starting to need some rain.

Joseph is leaving for his second job interview at Walmart. He does not like Walmart, but I hope he gets the job. It is fourteen miles away one way, so gas will add up, but he can really use the money.

For some reason, the kids are silly and loud this morning. I cannot concentrate. I shall turn this computer off and give them some attention.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

sunburn, and a lovely morning....

sunburned again, will I ever learn?
up Evil Hill
the corn is getting tall
my shadow and Dum-Dum, as Paul refers to her
the road goes on
heading down the evil hill

Here are some things about today:

My face is nice and sun-kissed. ha. oops. I did apply sunscreen, just not enough. Or often enough. blah.

I have to take Camille to the dr. for a check-up, and lo and behold, I read in the morning paper that our pediatrician's dad just passed away. Will the dr. still be there this morning?

My weight is staying the same. That is better, I remind myself, than having it go up, but...(I had the thought run through my mind the other day, "She started eating normally again, and gained it all back." Does anyone else have a narrator in their minds sometimes?)(anyway, I decided NOT to listen to that, and to continue on my way, cheating here and there, but eating good and healthy, even if I stay the same forever, or until I depart this earth anyway, it is better than gaining it all back)

The Evil Hill has really lost it's evilness. I don't even realize I go up it anymore. I think I should tie Rosie to a tree and go up and down it like five times to get the effect it used to have.

I am glad to be home. Staying in the camper is fun and different, but whenever I get home I wonder why I wanted to leave in the first place. Wait, now I remember! I didn't want to leave, it was the kids...they absolutely love sleeping in that camper.

I know I am The Princess And The Pea when it comes to comfy beds, but my bed in the camper is SO terribly firm, my poor hips take turns aching all night long.

Our bed at home is a Sleep Number bed with not one, but TWO big soft polyester-filled bed toppers on top.

The new chair Emily got me for my birthday is worth it's weight in gold.

Summer is going to get busier for me. Our church summer conference is coming up, and who is going to buy food and candy and drinks for our grill? Uh-huh.

Since time refuses to stand still for me, it is getting time to get ready to take Camille to the dr. I used to be fantastically fanatical about making and keeping all those well-child visits. Now, I seem to fall behind on them. Am I seriously going to go to the doc ten times a year for the ones under 18, plus the dentist twice a year for all of them (that I do manage, mostly), plus the sick visits and the cavities...? I hate appointments in the summer. What a ruination of a perfectly sunny pleasant day.

I shall make the best of it though. One thing I learned from my mother was to make the most of things, it isn't about doing what you like but liking what you are doing. If I was to be miserable whenever I was doing something I didn't really want to be doing, I would be one grumpy mama.

Camille and I shall also go to Wegman's and get some food. Again. Someone ate it all. Again. Well, lots of someones.

Well, no more procrastinating, time to give some baths...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

home again!

I do not feel like putting pictures up. Anyhow, pictures cannot really picture the mini-vacation we just had...

Although I did wonder a few times if it was really a vacation for the MOM.

Mostly, it was.

I swam, sunned, swam, sunned. Paul stayed home and went to work, Joe and Mirielle and Mali and Sam stayed home. Except for on Sunday, which was my birthday. Mirielle made taco salad and these yummy English-pudding type fruit dishes for dessert, made with blueberries and strawberries, and only about a hundred calories each. (so I had two...)

Anyway, it was just my eight youngest children, ha - the bottom half of the kids, and me.

My sister-in-law was there with six of her twelve kids, too.

So we were far from childless...

We did take it easy. Coffee, sitting around ignoring the kids' requests to go swimming until we good and felt like it. Swimming until they were bugging for the next meal. Back to the campsite to eat...our meals were simple. One night I cut up four pounds of potatoes and fried them in margarine with onions. Served with salad and hot dogs, and put out with the taco salad Kim had...marshmallows, chips, junk. I ate one chip. One marshmallow. Then, one of my girls roasted one of those huge-o ones and didn't want it. Oops, I ate that one too. I resisted the popcorn, the chocolate zingers, and the caramel Bugles. I ate a peach last evening, shared the rest of them with my nieces and nephews, which was a tiny bit hard because I couldn't have one home to a huge box of peaches on the table from Gramma.

Vacations are not all fun and games. There are still a few fights between the girls, a few messes to clean up, kids that are way too silly to go to sleep when they are tucked in...and wake up way to early in the morning.

But this little vacation accomplished more than relaxation. Margaret was the oldest child there with me, she is 14 years old. We had good fellowship, and got along so well! We needed these few days together! I think because she was the oldest, she blossomed and bloomed, and was so extremely responsible.

I didn't bring a book to read, had no internet, no distractions. Time well spent.

Now, I am tired....glad to be home, and tired.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

sunny saturday

Charlotte Claire
Camille Anaya
Suzanne Eleanor

Evelyn Joy

Charlotte Claire
holding my brother's grand-daughter (totally joyful)

Camille jumping off the lifeguard chair
Charlotte Claire and Camille climbing into the lifeguard chair
Kathryn Grace
our kids jumped off the lifeguard chair into the water, after the beach closed
Emily bought me this nice recliner chair for my birthday, which is tomorrow...she will not love this photo of her, daytime is nighttime to her.

sunset on Lake Ontario

We stayed at the beach for hours and hours and hours. Ten of the kids went with me. We sunned and splashed and took the journey through the hot sand up to the bathrooms. I hate sand, but love the beach. Well, I love sand where it belongs, which is on the beach and on my feet, not in my mouth, not on my food, not on my hands. blah.

Today...home for the entire day. Walk, pool, treadmill, relax in the sun, bonfire with marshmallows and s'mores.....I love summer

I shall be taking a mini-blogging break. Tomorrow I am taking the kids away for a few days. Nine of them, I think. I am mostly packed. We shall relax and swim and hopefully the girls will not fight too much.

I am distracted right now because the older kids are all up, watching a movie....